Sacrati's La Finta Pazza
Jean-Yves Ruf (stage director), Leonardo García Alarcón (conductor) — With Mariana Flores (Deidamia), Filippo Mineccia (Achille), Gabriel Jublin (Ulisse), Valerio Contaldo (Diomede) …
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Jean-Yves Ruf — Stage director
Laure Pichat — Set designer
Claudia Jenatsch — Costumes
Christian Dubet — Lighting
Cécile Kretschmar — Wig and Makeup Designer
Anaïs de Courson — Assistant stage director
Fanny Gamet — Associate set designer
Ariel Rychter — Vocal coach
Mónica Pustilnik — Musical assistant
Fabián Schofrin — Artistic assistant
Mariana Flores — Deidamia
Filippo Mineccia — Achille
Gabriel Jublin — Ulisse
Valerio Contaldo — Diomede
Norma Nahoun — Minerva, La Fama
Kacper Szelążek — Eunuco
The first opera ever performed in France comes back to the French stage nearly four centuries later: Francesco Sacrati’s La finta pazza lights up the magnificent Royal Chapel of Versailles!
Though the opera was first performed in Venice in 1641, its history in France dates to 1645, when Cardinal Mazarin invited an Italian troupe to entertain the seven-year-old Louis XIV. It met with considerable immediate success, thanks in part to its spectacular ballet sequences involving parrots, ostriches, and bears—and then was nearly lost to history. Three centuries later in 1983, the discovery of a sole surviving score piqued public interest with its musical freshness and similarities to Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as the first “mad scene” ever sung in a theater.
Based upon the Trojan War tale Achilles on Skyros, the plot is a typical example of Italian Baroque: Achilles, wishing to avoid war, hides with his lover Deidamia, disguised as a princess. The couple, brilliantly played by Mariana Flores and Filippo Mineccia, live in an idyllic setting until Odysseus and Diomedes (brought to the stage by the captivating Gabriel Jublin and Valerio Contaldo) demand that Achilles join the Greek troops—which ends up driving Deidamia to madness.
With its disguises and its gender-bending dynamics, plus a meta-theatrical mise en abyme, La finta pazza surprises with its modernity, enhanced by the charming staging of Jean-Yves Ruf and the impeccable orchestral conducting by Leonardo García Alarcón.
Photo © Gilles Abegg